Former banker Guillermo Lasso was sworn in as President of Ecuador for a four-year term in a ceremony held this Monday (24), in the plenary session of the National Assembly, in Quito.
A member of Opus Dei, Lasso, 65, was sworn in before Guadalupe Llori, president of the country’s legislature, and in the presence of the presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, and of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, and of the King of Spain, Felipe 6th.
The United States, in turn, was represented by the country’s Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Arriving in Quito on Sunday (23), she said free elections, like those by which Lasso was elected, are an example of democracy in the region.
Ecuador’s Communications Secretariat previously announced the presence of leaders from Colombia, Iván Duque, Chile, Sebastián Piñera, and Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou, but they did not attend. In a recorded message, Duque celebrated having, “in Ecuador, with President Guillermo Lasso, a new ally at the head of state to continue to jointly defend democracy in the region”.
Before leaving Ecuador, Bolsonaro wore a mask to say goodbye to the authorities, a posture different from that adopted in Brazil. In a video published by the Metropoles newspaper, the Brazilian president said: “Let me put the mask on here, I will take it. I am setting a bad example here.”
Elected with 52.36% of the Ecuadorian votes in the second round, Lasso replaces Lenín Moreno, who came to the presidency carried by his alliance with the former Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa (2007-2017). Subsequently, however, the Allies broke the union and became political opponents.
In the vote, the former banker won a sort of revenge against socialist Correa, who ruled Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, beating his godfather, economist Andrés Arauz, by 4.72 percentage points. After a decade of institutional instability (1997-2007), during which Ecuador had seven presidents – three of whom were deposed – and the Correista era, Lasso is the first right-wing name to be elected.
As a prelude, a right-wing forum organized by the International Freedom Foundation, led by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, was held in Quito on Sunday, with the participation of Lasso and José María Aznar, former Spanish Prime Minister, and Andrés Pastrana, former president of Colombia. Venezuelan opponent Leopoldo López also attended the meeting.
“We march together for democracy and freedom throughout the American continent,” said the compatriot Caribbean, sentenced in 2015 in his country to nearly 14 years in prison after being accused of inciting violence during protests against the government of Nicolás Maduro.
On the eve of the April 11 presidential election, Lasso expressed a scathing rejection of “totalitarianism” and Venezuela’s desire to return to the democratic path. “We will always fight for democracy in the region. We will promote all efforts so that countries are governed by democratic leaders, in an environment of freedom. Never totalitarianism,” he said in an interview with the ‘AFP.
For his tenure, Lasso promises a “government of encounter” that will seek to overcome the polarization between the right and anti-corruption and a bitter fight against corruption. It will also have to deal with a country in economic crisis, made worse by Covid – so far Ecuador has recorded 419,198 cases and 20,210 deaths.
He therefore pledged an ambitious vaccination plan during his first 100 days in office, a strategy to reactivate industrial and commercial activity hampered by quarantine measures for much of last year. In his inaugural address, Lasso also called on Ecuador to project a “promise of balance in common life”. “Balance between the causes of its people, balance between economic growth and social justice. Two cornerstones which will be the foundations of a prosperous and just country.
With political forces dispersed and without an absolute majority in Congress, the Creation of Opportunities (CREO), the movement of the new president, had to ally with sectors of the center and the left to achieve a front in the Legislative Assembly. which excluded the right to the right. -wing.
“We will see if this alliance really helps, because I see red lines,” Wendy Reyes, professor at the University of Washington told AFP. With the International Monetary Fund being Ecuador’s main creditor in return for structural reforms, the social sectors oppose tax increases and privatization plans. Lasso provided for public-private partnerships and grants to secure resources.